Wednesday 15 June 2016

Recent Rash of Rarities

It is thanks to the eBird hotspot pages that I started visiting Quidi Vidi more regularly this Spring. I was keen to bump up the year list for what is one of the best known hotspots on the island - so have been seeking spring migrants passing by the lake. Consistent with previous years, there seems to be a surprising lack of diversity in warblers around the lake. But it has made up for that with a great list of rarities!

The first bird that started the domino-effect were 2 Purple Martins flying around the Southeast area of the lake. My first self-found PUMAs, and a great addition for my QV list :)

While trying to relocate the martins a few days later I was shocked to hear and briefly see an Eastern Phoebe. This species often goes unrecorded on the Newfoundland year list. It was also another first self-found for me on the island!

Then the real business started! After watching my brother take part in a road race I walked home along the Southside of the lake mostly in hopes of re-finding the phoebe as most people didn't get a chance to see it.

There were a number of swallows flying over the lake. A Cliff Swallow was reported from here the week before so I searched for it. It didn't take long to find a pale-rumped swallow - oddly it didn't have the blazing white forehead despite relatively close looks. I decided to take a few photos and noticed that the photos clearly showed a pale throat....
I quickly pulled up the Sibley app and everything seemed consistent with Cave Swallow... except of course the time of year and location! I wasn't even excited at this point, mostly because I recently learned to be more cautious after embarrassingly identifying an Am. Coot as the eurasian variety :S

I went home and sent the photos around to a few people and headed back to the lake to try and document the bird a little better.

Five hours later the bird was thankfully still flying around the lake allowing Bruce to seal some excellent photos of the bird in flight:

A second record for the island and possibly the first of the Caribbean sub-species which may or may not be a future split.

The patagonia picnic table effect didn't stop there!
A few days later while trying to help some locals get on the swallow a plover flew in and landed on a small field next to the lake. It was a European Golden-Plover!

The bird moved to the other side of the road offering amazing looks from the car: 

Looking forward to the next find at the lake!